Ex-LAPD detective Harry Bosch, his lawsuit against the Los Angeles police for wrongful termination still undecided, has pretty much resigned himself to the idea that he is now a private detective rather than a cop. Harry, though, manages to keep himself in the game by spending several days a week working as a volunteer detective (as in unpaid) for the tiny San Fernando police department. It should be noted that Harry’s personality and idea about what constitutes effective policing has not changed – meaning that, hard as one might think it to do, Harry has in just a few months put himself in danger of being fired even from this job without a paycheck.
Harry’s understanding with the San Fernando police is that his volunteer hours will be worked around the time required for his private investigations, so when a Southern California billionaire wants to hire him, Harry is quick to accept the case. The never-married and supposedly childless Whitney P. Vance is now an old man justifiably worried about what will happen to his fortune upon his death. He hates the idea that management of his personal fortune might fall to his company’s Board of Directors. But when he was just eighteen years old, Vance got a young Mexican girl pregnant, and now he wants Bosch to determine whether or not she actually aborted that baby. If she did not, Whitney Vance might have a living heir or two – and that’s where he wants his money to go.
In the meantime, Bosch’s hunch that several relatively recent San Fernando rapes are the work of the same man proves true, meaning that the community has a serial rapist on its hands, a major crime requiring the level of investigation the understaffed police cannot possibly handle without Bosch’s fulltime support. Now Bosch has to find a way to keep both investigations moving without letting either slow down the other – and when things go crazily wrong in both cases, he has to deal with a self-imposed guilt trip.
The Wrong Side of Goodbye is classic Michael Connelly and that means that it is classic Harry Bosch. The LAPD really stepped in it when they forced Bosch’s resignation, because the man has barely lost a step. Thankfully for Harry – and his thousands of fans – the little San Fernando police department appreciates the man and wants to put him on the payroll. Hopefully, this means that there are many more Harry Bosch books in the pipeline.
Note: As in The Crossing, which preceded The Wrong Side of Goodbye, Bosch’s half-brother Mickey Haller (aka The Lincoln Lawyer) makes an appearance in this one to work in partnership with Bosch on one of the two investigations.